Thursday 13 October 2016

Rally - The Pilgrimage

The first thing I do when I land on Mull each year is visit the ‘silent spectator’. His memorial cairn stands in his favourite vantage point overlooking the village of Dervaig and its notorious hairpins. The view overlooks Loch Cuan and the Mornish peninsula and north westwards towards Coll. When the sun is shining and the sea is blue there are few finer vistas in all of Scotland. A choice spot.

The cairn was erected to Brian Molyneux by his family and friends. It was Brian’s vision that saw this quaint 300 sq mile of rockery become the capital of closed public road rallying in ‘mainland’ UK. Prior to the introduction of the Act of Parliament in 1990 which enabled this event to become the mecca of road rallying, the island hosted an annual road rally but as cars became more sophisticated and speeds increased, closed roads were essential.

It took over two years and £20,000 to get the Act through Parliament and although he was greatly aided by family, friends, the 2300 Car Club team, islanders, and local and national politicians, it was his patience, persistence, common sense and application that ensured that this vision was to succeed.

I sit on the bench for a chat and share a smoke, not just because of the rally, but because he inspired me in so many other ways. He is just one of the reasons I keep coming back.

He was rarely seen without his pipe, hence the chat and the smoke. I like to believe that it’s not always the sea har, mist or fog, or low cloud that sweeps down Glen Aros, nor is it peat smoke or wood smoke. I reckon it’s pipe smoke and I reckon he’s still watching.     

There is just one complaint. The bench at the cairn is made of stainless steel. It’s a bluidy cauld seat even in warm weather! But maybe that’s deliberate, maybe he doesn’t want folk sitting too long and brooding. There’s a rally to run. Just give him a nod and say thanks when you’re passing.

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